Sikhumbuzo Moyo Senior Sports Reporter
HIGHLANDERS are 30 percent away from perfection with just over two weeks before the 2016 Castle Lager Premier Soccer season rolls into life. Bosso begin their campaign with an away match to Hwange at the Colliery Stadium on April 2. Speaking at their weekly press conference on Thursday at the club office, Dutch coach Erol Akbay said there were still some areas in the team that he was not happy with but generally he said the team was shaping up.
He refused to name the department which was not yet read but twice now he has raised his concerns about the midfield department.
“The team is about 70 percent ready, there are some areas which I’m not happy about but I will not tell you those areas. We will work on them within the next few weeks. I must add that having been with the team for almost three weeks now, the guys are beginning to understand my style and what I expect from them,” said Akbay.
The coach however seems to have reneged on his earlier promise to build his team around youngsters, telling the press conference that the recently promoted juniors need some time to break into first team football.
“The juniors need time, a year, maybe two before they join the first team because some of them aren’t physically fit,” said the Dutchman.
When it was put to him that the new move might destroy the promising boys’ belief in themselves, Akbay who seemed less confident in his explanation, made an about turn and said with the imminent departure of striker Knox Mutizwa to Bidvets in June, young Prince Dube might be the right choice for replacing the 2015 Golden Boot winner.
“With Mutizwa set to leave us, I’m sure Prince is one of the boys we will use,” said Akbay.
The new position of the technical team regarding the use of juniors, will certainly irk the ever impatient Highlanders followers.
Members who attended the club’s annual general meeting in January were very vocal and emotional about the continued snubbing of youngsters when it comes to promoting them to the first team.
With Akbay’s contract clearly stating that the league title is not a priority during his first year, questions will be asked as to why the coach suddenly seems to be under pressure to win at all costs, like has been with previous coaches.
In the past coaches have complained of shifts in goalposts that put them under pressure to win cups and the league title hence they were reluctant to play inexperienced youngsters.
In the case of Akbay, the club said what it wants is a top four finish and therefore winning the championship will be a bonus.
The boys Adrian Silla, Brian Banda and Dube have already endeared themselves with the supporters following their top drawer performance against Bulawayo City in the Bulawayo Football Festival final, with Dube capping the day with a brilliant goal.